The Bethel Park School District Board of Directors and the Bethel Park Federation of Teachers (BPFT) have agreed to a new three-year contract that will run from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2025. The BPFT includes approximately 330 certified personnel, consisting of teachers, counselors, psychologists, nurses, speech therapists, Information Technology specialists and librarians.
"We are extremely pleased to have reached this agreement," said Barry Christenson, president of the Bethel Park School Board. "This contract successfully strikes a balance between meeting the needs of the BPFT members and our students while maintaining fiscal integrity for the district and its taxpayers."
Under the terms of the new pact, health benefit premiums for most BPFT members will increase from 10% to 14% over the life of the contract. There are also early retirement incentives built into the contract. Changes were also made to the salary schedule.
Under the current deal, teacher salaries remain very similar from steps one through 16, before seeing a fairly sharp rise in Step 17. The new contract will see a more gradual increase in teacher salaries, which the district believes will help provide greater cost certainty in the budgeting process and aid in the attraction and retention of quality teachers.
Under the new salary schedule, first-year teachers with only a bachelor’s degree will start at $53,175 with members of the top step earning $103,906.
The new contract also provides a number of significant language changes which should provide greater transparency and increased flexibility for both sides. The district hopes those changes will foster more cohesion going forward.
Another key component of the new contract will include a class size limit decrease at the elementary school level. There were also long-overdue changes to the language regarding supplemental activity stipends.
"The Bethel Park Federation of Teachers is pleased to announce a contract that acknowledges the hard work of its members and their commitment to enhancing the educational experience of all students while being mindful of all constituents," said Bill Wells, President of the BPFT.
Finance Director L. Douglas McCausland, who negotiated the contract on the district’s behalf, alongside Administrator for Human Resource Services Anthony Piscioneri, said he is pleased to reach an agreement that he thinks is fair to all parties. “We are hopeful that the next three years under this contract will provide an environment where students and staff will feel supported and valued and the public will trust that its resources were very well spent," he said.
Contract negotiations began in January 2022. Teachers ratified the contract agreement on Monday, April 25, and the Board publicly approved it on Tuesday, April 26.